Just imagine: you’ve finally decided to renovate your house, and you need a good architect, but you don’t even know one.
What are you doing? We are pretty sure that most of you will have thought “I pick up the phone and call that friend / my sister / my colleague who has recently renovated his house and is satisfied with the result, so he can recommend the professional worked for him ”.
Here, translated into everyday life, the mechanism of networking. If you were that architect, you would be happy to receive a call that begins with “Hello, I’m calling you because I have received excellent references from …”.
Do you understand the importance of having a network of trusted professionals, aware of your value and sensitive to promoting your business? The right connections in the professional field can provide valuable opportunities for learning, collaboration and growth, as well as increase your credibility, through recommendation and reassurance.
How to build a solid and profitable network of contacts? Here are 7 tips for effective networking.
1. Be skilled communicators
To expand your network of connections it is essential to work on your skills communication and relational skills.
Networking, in fact, is based on sincere contacts and pleasant relationships: no one will advise their boss to give an interview to a grumpy and unpleasant person.
So train your communication skills by working day after day to become more and more friendly, cordial and sociable.
Any exercises? Memorize your colleagues and always call them by name, practice remembering their passions and, at every significant event (“How was your daughter’s birthday party yesterday?”, “Congratulations on the launch of the new product: I heard it was a success! “) be attentive and present.
In short: make interacting with you pleasant, so that others want to do it more often.
One member at a time, and you’ve built a virtuous, motivated and loyal network.
2. Make yourself useful
If you think that one day you will need to use your knowledge to boost your career and to access new career opportunities more easily, start with making yourself useful spontaneously to others.
If a former colleague of yours with a passion for directing has opened a video production company, and you know of a friend close to the wedding who is looking for a video maker to make his wedding film, put them in contact. If the child of an acquaintance has just graduated and is looking for an internship, help him by providing the phone numbers of the headhunters you know. If a friend is tired of his work and is looking around, forward him that invitation to the “Approaching Change” event, which lies in your inbox and in which you are not interested.
Doing a courtesy to a member of the network means showing interest and involvement, and it makes it easy for you to get something in return when it’s your time to ask.
3. Integrate into professional groups
The first rule to be remembered is to be there. Be part of the professional groups related to your sector of activity is the first step in staying connected, increasing your awareness and gaining relevance and memorability.
From former schoolmates to the students of a specialization course attended after high school up to the official groups present on LinkedIn related to your business area: integrate yourself in any network that can bring you closer to new opportunities.
An activity, that of accessing groups of professionals, easier for those with recent networking experiences: like MBA students, who benefit from knowledge and interaction in the classroom with other students/professionals. Business schoolmates, who will soon become leaders in numerous companies: can you imagine a more fertile network of contacts than this?
4. Always be up to date
Have you built a responsive and versatile network of contacts or have you joined a good group of professionals?
This is the time to get noticed, positioning yourself as relevant and always up to date.
An example? If you’ve joined a professional group on LinkedIn, stimulate the ’attention of the community by sharing industry news every day.
The effort is minimal – it only takes a few seconds to forward a post written by others – but the impact is maximum: your group members, day after day, will recognize you as a qualified character, well-integrated and always up to date with the latest news.
5. Take part in industry events
If your goal is to develop a network of contacts similar to your business sector, what could be simpler than attending an event or seminar related to your work and introduce yourself to other subscribers?
Easy, isn’t it? Eh, no. Because you need to know the scheduled events, be able to get accredited and have the standing and right skills selling to approach a complete stranger and position yourself as credible professionals and worthy of attention.
How to establish effective connections with other participants? Putting the ’empathy into play: prepare some standard ice-breaking questions (“How did you hear about the event?”, “What interested you most?”) And then start a speech letting l ‘interlocutor be free to tell a little ‘ about himself. By doing so you will make him feel valued and show you sincerely interested in ‘deepen his knowledge, carefully concealing your ulterior motive.
6. Always refresh your network of contacts
A network of contacts, to be effective, must be relevant and relevant.
For this reason, a couple of times a year check your network and evaluate if the connections established are still interesting and in line with your career path.
Every 6 months it might be useful to update the knowledge group, integrating new members : introducing new contacts within the group you have formed can help you broaden your horizons and keep your relationships.
7. Do not push beyond the limit
If at the tenth invitation on the various social networks your former college friend, now Head of Finance of your dream company, doesn’t give any sign of answering, maybe it’s time to give up.
The risk of insisting too much, in fact, is not only that of appearing impolite and disturbing the other, but above all that of transferring a desperate and needy image : nothing more harmful to one’s positioning.
Also remember that effective networking must be positive and sincere, just like any relationship based on mutual trust and spontaneous interest: forced or superficial relationships, on the contrary, they are challenging to establish and feed and often lead nowhere.